Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst slated to close
GRAVENHURST, ONT. -- The Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst will close later this year.
The college has been the home of firefighter training in Ontario for more than 70 years, but the town's mayor and the Solicitor General confirmed the closure to CTV News on Wednesday.
"It's devastating to our community to lose more jobs," said Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly.
The Fire Marshal's office also confirmed the closure to CTV News on Wednesday but offered no other details.
The fire college has been around since 1949, providing both practical training and classroom programs for volunteer and professional firefighters alike.
But since the pandemic, there hasn't been any training happening. It is now being done online and at regional training centres.
The staff members impacted by the closure were told Wednesday morning and will either be redeployed or receive financial packages.
The mayor said the entire community of Gravenhurst would feel the economic impact.
"From an economic perspective - both from employees and from those who would be going there for training - it's a disappointment, to say the least," Kelly said.
According to the mayor, the province plans to sell off the 99 acres of waterfront property the college is situated on through Ontario Infrastructure.
"Once again, we will have a conversation with Infrastructure Ontario about our role as the Town of Gravenhurst in relationship to that property as we have with the Muskoka Regional Centre," the mayor said.
According to the mayor, the college employs about 20 people, many of whom live in Gravenhurst.